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Socotra (səkōˈtrə, sō–) [key], island, 1,383 sq mi (3,582 sq km), S Yemen, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. The mountainous interior rises to c.5,000 ft (1,520 m). The island's inhabitants farm, fish, and herd; exports include dried fish, aloes, ghee, and pearls. Known to the ancient Greeks, Socotra shared the political fortunes of S Arabia, except for a brief Portuguese occupation in the early 1500s. The island was occupied by the East India Company in 1834, and in 1886 it became part of Britain's Aden protectorate and was used as a refueling station. In 1967, Socotra was joined to the newly formed nation of South Yemen, which merged with northern Yemen in 1990.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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